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Is your New York condo storm-ready?

After Hurricane Sandy hit, property owners in New York started thinking about backup plans as they never had before. The massive power outage caused by the big storm led many to consider purchasing generators and flood insurance just in case anything remotely like Sandy happens again.

But while repairs, maintenance and planning for the future may be a yes or no issue for many single-residence owners, matters can be significantly more complicated for New Yorkers living in multi-unit buildings. For example, board members and residents of condominiums and cooperatives often have to navigate a complexity of rules and contractual relationships to achieve an objective, and disputes can arise in the process.

One co-op board on West 16th Street in Manhattan obtained a feasibility report on installing a diesel generator in a courtyard on top of the building's garage. The cost of the project was estimated to be between $250,000 and $300,000, with about a $650 assessment for each apartment.

A survey was sent to residents to see what they thought of the idea, and most of the responses were positive. The building hasn't put in the generator yet, but the deal reportedly seems likely.

Not all co-ops and condominiums run so smoothly, however, depending on the dynamics of the particular board and the residents. With repair and maintenance projects in co-ops and condominiums, disputes can arise regarding a wide range of issues, including maintenance fees, alteration agreements, mechanics liens and warranty of habitability.

To learn more about resolving maintenance and repair disputes, please visit our pages on condos and co-ops.

Source: habitatmag.com, "Hard Lesson: Buildings Without Backup Generators Are Fooling Themselves," Jennifer V. Hughes, Nov. 26, 2013

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